I've begun building a fairly simple timber gate for the side of our house following along with this Bunnings how-to video:
The timber is 70mm x 35mm treated pine.
The screws are 14G 150mm galvanised batten screws
When measuring the frame from one corner to the other on both sides to check if it's square I've found one to be out by 9-10mm (see pics below).
I'm looking for any advice on the following;
a) How do I adjust the frame to make it square with all the screws done up?
b) What are the consequences if I left it as is, added the diagonal supports and pailings and then hung it?
I've tried to straighten the pieces up with the help of a 600mm rafter square but just can't get it to sit right or tightening the screws pulls it of alignment.
Any help is much appreciated.
Solved! See most helpful response
I think you'll find that 10mm out of square won't pose any significant issues with your build. Sure, it's slightly out, but that might not even be noticeable. However, I'd encourage you to try and get it close before inserting the diagonal braces. When I run into this issue, I place the frame corner of the longer side on the ground. I then apply my weight to the top corner. This compresses the longer diagonal and extends the other diagonal. You'll only need to compress it 5mm in order to even out the diagonals. It can help to loosen a few screws slightly. Once you've got the frame square, insert your cross braces and then re-tighten your screws. If you continue to have issues, leave the screws slightly loose until you screw several of the slats on the front. The slats and diagonal braces will hold the frame square whilst you tighten down the frame screws again.
I generally run into this issue when my cuts aren't perfectly square. When you tighten the screws down, it pulls the timber in and skews the frame off square. Another option you can try if you have a rachet strap is to place it around the longest diagonal and crank it down until the frame is square. Then insert those diagonals and screw down several slats to lock the frame in position.
Please let me know how you go.
Thanks for the detailed reply @MitchellMc ! I'll give the body compression technique a go and see if that helps. Will post updates on the gate progress here to help out anyone else that might be having a similar issue.
I tried to compress the frame as per the diagram you included in your reply but it doesn't alter the measurements. Even loosening all the screws and trying to compress didn't work. The frame flexes a little but doesn't shift. I guess this is due to the 2 150mm screws in each rail.
Unless you or anyone else here has any other ideas, I think, other than pulling it all apart and trimming the uneven rail ends my only option at this point is to carry on as is, putting the diagonal braces in before attaching the palings and hanging the gate to the post.
One way to bring the frame to square is to add a timber shim at the top rail and centre rail. If you measure all three horizontal rails, you'll see that they are not the same size. Technically you could cut the rails again so that they will line up, however, this now has the effect of reducing the original width of the frame. The consequence of a smaller frame means that the gap at the gate is now bigger.
Another method is to remove the short rails and cut new ones to the same size as the correct one. I've placed a sample sketch below to give you an idea of how to square the frame. Please note that the measurements used are for example only.
My number one reminder is to find out which rails are to be repaired and which one stays behind.
Please make sure to wear your gloves and safety goggles when working on your timber gate.
If you have any other questions we can help with, please let us know.
I'll double check the rails and see what's going on with their lengths. I have a few offcuts that might be the right length should I need to replace any.
SUCCESS!... well, sort of. After measuring the lengths of each rail I noticed the bottom rail was cut on a slight angle (1-2mm). I took this rail off (undoing the screws on each side) and sanded the uneven end with 80 grit sand paper and a sanding block to keep it nice and flat.
I then reattached the bottom rail, doing the screws up tight and then tightened up the screws on the other rails to close some of the gaps caused by the uneven bottom rail.
This was enough to pull the frame within 2-3mm of square.
Final diagonal measurements were;
- Diagonal 1: 1947 (originally 1942)
- Diagonal 2: 1950 (unchanged)
Thanks again to @MitchellMc and @EricL for your suggestions. This goes to show the importance of straight cuts. Next thing to do is to get my mitre saw looked at to square up the blade (It's an old Ryobi I inherited from my step dad) and ensure I get a nice, straight cut every time.
Here's a final pic of the gate built and hung. All that's left now is to paint it!
What a beauty, @TomG!
For the longest time, I couldn't work out why my inherited mitre saw wasn't cutting perfectly straight. If I cut long lengths in half, it would be fine, but when trimming short lengths, it would be out. It turns out the fence on the left-hand side must have received an impact and had bent slightly.
Well done, and many thanks for sharing your solution and finished project with us; it looks amazing.